AST 554: Extragalactic Astronomy II

  • General Overview:

    This course is primarily a summary of our present understanding of star formation in galaxies, and the properties of local pecular galaxies and early universe galaxies. There are two major goals of this course: First, I will discuss both the physics and terminology of extragalactic astronomy at a level that will allow you to read journal articles on the subject. Second, I will point out the assumptions, opinions, and unanswered questions that still exist in this subject. This is in part to emphasize possible areas for future research. In achieving these goals, I will present the material in class at a general-to-slightly rigorous level, always keeping in mind the big picture.

  • Main Textbooks:

    Galactic Astronomy, 1998, Binney and Merrifield
    Galactic Dynamics, 1987, Binney and Tremaine

  • Other Useful Textbooks:

    Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei, 1989, Osterbrock

  • Useful General Astronomy Book

    The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 1982, Shu

    Note that some of the material presented in class are not contained within these books. This material will primarily come from review articles written in the last few years. In these cases, copies of the relevant articles will be handed out in class or available on the web.

  • Short Talk and Possible Term Paper:

    Writing papers and giving talks are the two ways in which your research will be communicated to the scientific community at large. Both forms of expression are equally important. The talks for this course will be only 5 minutes in length, similar to talks given at the American Astronomical Society meetings. It will give you an opportunity to convey a particular scientific result in a time format quite common at large conferences. The subject of the talk will be on an extragalactic topic of your choosing. You have a month from the beginning of the course to decide on topics.

    The class has an option of having a non-cumulative final exam or writing term papers. If the class decides on doing term papers, they will be 10 pages in length, and like the talks, will be on an extragalactic topic of your choosing.

  • Course Evaluation:

    Mid-term Exam 30%
    Final Exam or Term Paper 30%
    Homework 25%
    Short Oral Presentation 15%

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